July 15, 2014
"And We Bid You Goodnight, 1973"
It’s obvious that the “Here Comes Sunshine” was the swaying factor in Dick Latvala’s decision to release this night for the first released pick. It’s also the last stand of 1973, a year universality praised by many deadheads (and rightfully so!). It happens to be my favorite year, and I’m of the opinion that the Dead bade farewell to this year in fine fashion, although the previous night in Tampa deserves the nod for the stronger of the two shows.
The aforementioned HCS is truly epic, and along with the versions played on 12/6, 11/30, 11/17 and 2/23/74, ranks among the very best. The last show of December is not actually an all around spectacular show, all told. Much of the first set is dialed in, save for the “Playin’”, and this version, while good, is nowhere near the best of the year. (For superlative stand alone versions look to the month of February, 3/16, 5/26, 7/1 & 10/19.) The Second set, per usual, offers up more interesting sonic goods. The segue-wave involving “Truckin’->Nobody’s Fault But Min->Jam->Other One->Jam” is the undisputed highlight. The “Truckin’” itself is pretty uneventful, but the “Nobody’s Fault” is remarkable (best version of the year, imho), and the jam that is segues into is worth a listen or three. The “Other One” that follows is very lean, clocking in at under two minutes (Phil Lesh disallowed the inclusion of his bass solo before this night was released), then segues into one of the greatest “insect fear” meltdown jams of the 73/74 era. The jarring, yet thrilling waves of electronic crescendos hint at the upcoming “Seastones” section that would later grace or plague (depending on your tastes) summer and fall ’74 shows.